Catholic charity director to address graduates
THE SANTA CLARA
March 31, 2016
Carolyn Woo, author, academic and the president and CEO of Catholic Relief Services or CRS, will address the graduating class of 2016 at Santa Clara’s 165th undergraduate commencement ceremony on June 11.
Carolyn Woo’s family fled to Hong Kong to escape the China’s communist regime. She grew up with a sense of unease, but found comfort in the sisters at Maryknoll, a Catholic charity, who educated her before she came the United States at age 18 to attend Purdue University. After receiving her bachelor’s, she went on to earn both her master’s and doctoral degrees from Purdue.
“I came to this country as a stranger—not as a refugee, but as an academic immigrant—and I was welcomed,” Woo said.
Before coming to CRS in 2012, Woo was the dean of the Mendoza College of Business at University of Notre Dame from 1997 to 2011.
“It will be my great honor to address graduates of one of the world’s great Catholic universities,” Woo said in a university-issued press release.
Woo’s resume also includes holding office as executive vice president for academic affairs at her alma mater, six years on the board of directors of CRS and served as a presenter in Rome following Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical, Laudato Si, last June.
In addition to running CRS, she serves on seven different boards of directors, including the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and the International Policy Committee.
In her commencement address, Woo said she will focus on the theme of grace and “how it affects the way we live and the way we act.”
Woo has delivered about 15 commencement addresses, including recent speeches at D’Youville College, Saint Vincent College and her alma mater Purdue.
While she did not specify how exactly Santa Clara’s Jesuit tradition will influence her address, she did say that the “approach speaks directly to living with grace in a competitive world.”
According to the press release announcing her as the chosen speaker, the university also announced that Woo will be the recipient of an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree at the ceremony.
“Dr. Carolyn Woo has an expansive and firsthand view of the problems and challenges—as well as solutions—that Santa Clara graduates will encounter in the world ahead,” said Santa Clara University President Michael Engh, S.J. in the press release.
Contact Jenni Sigl at email@example.com or call (408) 554-4849.